BANGKOK , March 25 2011 – The Top of the Gulf Regatta will take place 29 April – 3 May 2011 at Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand. Incorporating the one-design Platu Coronation Cup and the Thailand Optimist Nationals, the Regatta enters its seventh year having firmly established itself as a ‘Regatta For Champions’. A spring board for many past and present World Champions, the TOG Regatta continues to offer sailing competition at the highest level.
The Top of the Gulf Regatta is also leading the sailing community with a unique sailing initiative in Thailand, with a special book signing, open for Thai and international sailors to celebrate His Majesty the King’s 84th Birthday and Seventh Cycle. The book is available at Ocean Marina Yacht Club until the end of Top of the Gulf Regatta 2011 for all to sign.
Acknowledging the pedigree of sailors at the TOG Regatta, William Gasson, Chairman of the TOG Regatta Organising Committee and himself a four-time winner of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, said, “246 boats and over 500 sailors from around the world took part in last year’s Top of the Gulf Regatta and expect similar numbers this year. The Top of the Gulf Regatta has a long tradition of developing junior sailing talent with the Thailand Optimist Nationals and the Laser and dinghy classes.” Explaining that the Regatta’s fleet continues to develop each year, Gasson added, “Over the years the Top of the Gulf Regatta has attracted World Champions from all over to take part and each year the fleet continues to get more competitive.”
The Gulf of Thailand is well known as an excellent training ground for sailors with challenging conditions and world-class sailors taking part in events in the region. No fewer than five World Champions and three former regional champions will be competing in the 2011 Top of the Gulf Regatta.
2011 World Optimist Champion, Thai girl Noppakao Poonpat, will return but this year will be racing a 420. The Thailand Optimist Nationals is therefore very open this year and the competition will be tough with Noppakao’s fellow Thailand Team World Champions and top sailors from Malaysia and Singapore vying for the title. The Thailand Optimist Nationals are a valuable training ground for future champions and Noppakao, after having so much success over the years, is moving on to the 420 class and hopes continue her successes.
Leading the challenge in the big boat fleet is defending IRC Racing 1 champion Ray Roberts and his crew on Evolution Racing. Recent wins include 2010 Phuket King’s Cup and 2011 Royal Langkawi International Regattas, and the reigning Asian Yachting Grand Prix Champion, yet Roberts will be facing a tough challenge from four-time Phuket King’s Cup Regatta winner and 2008/9 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship Neil Pryde and his highly experienced crew on Hi Fi.
Current Asian Beach Games gold medalists and former World Top Ten, Thai Hobie 16 sailors Damrongsak Vongtim and Kritsada Vongtim, return to defend their title and will be up against some of the world’s best, including former Hobie 16 World Champion (and current Hobie 17 World Champion) Aaron Worrall and crew. While in the Laser class, 2010 Asia Pacific Champion and reigning Thai national champion, Keerati Bualong, also returns to defend his TOG Regatta crown.
One-design Platu racing is seeing a resurgence in Thailand with newly established Match Racing events attracting world-class sailors to Pattaya and a fleet series of which the Coronation Cup at the TOG Regatta is the jewel in the crown. Former Youth Champion, Australian Scott Duncanson, will return to defend his Coronation Cup title which he and his crew on The Ferrett won in 2010 following a Hollywood-style finish to win by just a single point.
The 2011 Top of the Gulf Regatta is mainly sponsored by Ocean Property Co. Ltd., Range Rover, Land Rover and Thai Airways International Plc., with strong support from Gulf Charters Thailand Co. Ltd., Singha Corporation Group, Mont Clair wines, Thai Numthip Co., Ltd. (Coca Cola), Ocean Glass, Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, Golden Foods Siam Ltd. , Bank of Ayudhya Plc., Seat Boat Co. Ltd., Corsair Marine Thailand Co. Ltd., QBE Insurance (Thailand) Co. Ltd., Mõvenpick ice cream, Nivea, and CAT Telecom. Media partners include Pattaya Today, SEA Yachting magazine, Ensign Media, and Mix 88.5 FM. The event is supported by The Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT), Royal Varuna Yacht Club and Pattaya City.